Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Iron Man 2

Directed by Jon Favreau, starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, and Mickey Rourke.

Iron Man 2 is coming out May 7, 2010.

Record 16 inches of snow in D.C.

NY Times: Major Snowstorm Hits Atlantic Coast

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just A Coincidence?

Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel - Brain as God. Click to enlarge.

Movie News

(1) Above is the teaser poster for this summers expected blockbuster, Inception. Written and directed by Memento and The Dark Knights' Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Inception is, "a contemporary science-fiction action thriller set within the architecture of the mind."

A new teaser trailer for the movie is expected this Friday.

(2) Below is the trailer for Ridley Scott's new adaptation of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe. Coming out May 14, 2010.

(3) Mel Gibson has announced plans for his next directorial feature, an historical movie about Viking culture that is set to star Leonardo Dicaprio. Gibson may be a polarizing figure in movie-making and celebrity culture, but the greatness of Braveheart cannot be disputed. And the attention to detail in period aesthetic in his last two films, The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto can only be rivaled by the above Ridley Scott (Gladiator).

Movie Award Season

The nominations for the 2010 Golden Globes were announced last night.

Nominations for Best Motion Picture - Drama:
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based on The Novel Push by Sapphire
Up In The Air

Normally, the Golden Globes nomination list serves as a rough draft for what can be expected to be nominated for the Academy Awards; however, this year the Academy has expanded to 10 nominations for the Best Picture category.

So to help build suspense for the discussion of best movies of 2009 here is Rolling Stones' movie critic Peter Travers' Top 10 movies of the year and director Quentin Tarantino's Top 8 movies of 2009.

10) The Messenger
9) (500) Days of Summer
8) District 9
7) A Serious Man
6) Where the Wild Things Are
5) Up
4) An Education
3) The Hurt Locker
2) Up In The Air
1) Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Quentin Tarantino's Top 8 Movies of 2009:

The Illustrated Book of Genesis

"Envisioning the first book of the bible like no one before him, R. Crumb, the legendary illustrator, reveals here the story of Genesis in a profoundly honest and deeply moving way. Originally thinking that we would do a take off of Adam and Eve, Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible's language, "a text so great and so strange that it lends itself readily to graphic depictions," that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James bible."

Artist: Michael Birawer

"Artist Michael Birawer has brought a new look to the face of urban neighborhoods through his unique style of painting. A combination of graffiti, cartoon, illustration and heavy textures, his paintings have received praise from both art critics and patrons, who describe his work as "one of the best examples of the contemporary revival of urban art."

Birawer was born, raised and currently resides in the Twin Cities."

To see more of Birawer's work including works of Chicago and Las Vegas click here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TIME Top 10 2009

TIME Magzine has ranked the Top 10 of everything 2009. Above, are some of TIME's best pictures of the year.

#3 Editorial cartoon of the year

Sarah Palin's visit to Mall of America

*no tomato footage

Black Swan

"The first set photos of Natalie Portman from Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan have been discovered online. The film, which is currently filming in New York City, is a supernatural drama set in the world of New York City ballet.

Natalie Portman stars as Nina, a veteran ballerina who finds herself locked in to a competitive showdown with a rival dancer named Lilly (played by Mila Kunis) “with the stakes and twists increasing as the dancers approach a big performance.” The big twist is that Portman’s character is not sure whether her rival is a supernatural apparition or if she is having delusions. And if that wasn’t enough, you may remember reading that the script includes a sequence where the two main characters have “ecstasy-induced hungry aggressive angry sex.” The film also stars Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, and Barbara Hershey (The Portrait of a Lady).

Aronofsky became attached to Black Swan in early 2007, but the film was put into turnaround by Universal. The project is apparently making the rounds to studios and specialty divisions, as part of the CAA package. Mark Heyman, co-producer of The Wrestler, has done a rewrite of the original script by John McLaughlin. Fox Searchlight, the studio that released Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, has acquired the distribution rights."
Darren Aronofsky director of Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler.

Monday, December 7, 2009

MILF Realtors

Topcultured- Now That's What You Call A Guarantee

International Photography Contest Winners

National Geographic's International Photography Contest winners were announced over the weekend. Above, is the 'Places' category winner. The photograph is of the Licancabur volcano located on the border between Chile and Bolivia.

“The cloud performs a delicate balancing act atop the mountain, making the two massive forces of geology and meteorology appear light. Clouds are often just garland in mountain photos, but here the cloud is an equal subject, casting shadows which help define the peak.”

-Darren Smith
National Geographic design editor

Music of the Night

Alicia Keys - "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)"

Written by Drake; Produced by So Far Gone's Noah "40" Shebib


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Quote of the Night

"Beginning in the last years of the nineteenth century and continuing into the twentieth, we experienced the second epidemiological transition. With modern medical science providing immunizations and antibiotics and with better public health measures and improved nutrition, many infectious diseases were brought under control or even, as with smallpox, eliminated. In terms of what ailed and killed us, there was a shift to chronic, degenerative diseases such as cancers and cardiac, circulatory, and pulmonary diseases. The increase in many of these came not only from the fact that fewer people were dying from infectious diseases and were living longer but also from the results of modern lifestyles in developed countries and among the upper classes of developing countries- a more sedentary life leading to less physical activity; more stress; environmental pollution; diets contributing to obesity, clogged arteries, and diabetes; and smoking and alcohol consumption."

-Michael Alan Park
Biological Anthropology, Sixth Edition
Disease and Human Populations

No Playoffs This Year

But, the Bowl Championship Series still has some great match-ups..

Alabama (1) 13-0 vs. Texas (2) 13-0
January 7, 8:30 P.M. EST

Iowa (10) 10-2 vs. Georgia Tech (9) 11-2
January 5, 8 P.M. EST

TCU (3) 12-0 vs. Boise State (6) 13-0
January 4, 8 P.M. EST

Ohio State (8) 10-2 vs. Oregon (7) 10-2
January 1, 5 P.M. EST

Cincinnati (4) 12-0 vs. Florida (5) 11-1
January 1, 8:30 P.M. EST

50 Best NBA Players

Sporting News put together a panel of, "107 Hall of Famers, major award winners, executives, current players and coaches, and other basketball experts" that ranked NBA players into a Top 50 list.

50. Andrew Bynum, C, Lakers
49. Michael Redd, SG, Bucks
48. Charlie Villanueva, PF, Pistons
47. O.J. Mayo, SG, Grizzlies
46. Richard Jefferson, SF, Spurs
45. Elton Brand, PF, 76ers
44. Shane Battier, SG, Rockets
43. Lamar Odom, SF, Lakers
42. Hedo Turkoglu, SF, Raptors
41. Rudy Gay, SF, Grizzlies
40. Josh Smith, PF, Hawks
39. Andre Iguodala, SG 76ers
38. Rajon Rondo, PG, Celtics
37. Nene, C, Nuggets
36. Carlos Boozer, PF, Jazz
35. Al Horford, C, Hawks
34. Ben Gordon, SG, Pistons
33. Devin Harris, PG, Nets
32. Baron Davis, PG, Clippers
31. Danny Granger, SG, Pacers
30. Vince Carter, SF, Magic
29. Ron Artest, SF, Lakers
28. Gilbert Arenas, PG, Wizards
27. Ray Allen, SG, Celtics
26. Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls
25. Joe Johnson, SG, Hawks
24. Tracy McGrady, SG, Rockets
23. Jason Kidd, PG, Mavericks
22. Manu Ginobili, SG, Spurs
21. Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder
20. Chauncey Billups, PG, Nuggets
19. Amare Stoudemire, PF, Suns
18. Chris Bosh, PF, Raptors
17. Pau Gasol, PF, Lakers
16. Shaquille O'Neal, C, Cavaliers
15. Yao Ming, C, Rockets
14. Brandon Roy, SG, Trail Blazers
13. Tony Parker, PG, Spurs
12. Deron Williams, PG, Jazz
11. Steve Nash, PG, Suns
10. Paul Pierce, SF, Celtics
9. Carmelo Anthony, SF, Nuggets
8. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks
7. Kevin Garnett, PG, Celtics
6. Chris Paul, PG, Hornets
5. Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs
4. Dwight Howard, C, Magic
3. Dwyane Wade, SG, Heat
2. LeBron James, SF, Cavaliers
1. Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers

Friday, December 4, 2009

Puff Daddy

100 Greatest Songs of the 00s

Complex Magazine's newest Decade 100 ranking: Greatest Songs of the 00s.

100. Nelly - Country Grammar (2000)
99. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends (2007)
98. 50 Cent - Wanksta (2002)
97. Kanye West - Flashing Lights (2007)
96. Kings of Leon - Kings of the Rodeo (2005)
95. Sean Paul - Gimmie Di Light (2001)
94. Freeway (feat. Peedi Crakk) - Flipside (2001)
93. Ciara (feat. Ludacris) - Oh! (2004)
92. Animal Collective - My Girls (2009)
91. Gucci Mane (feat. Mac Bre-Z) - Pills (2006)
90. Rihanna (feat. Jay-Z) - Umbrella (2007)
89. E-40 (feat. Keak the Sneak) - Tell Me When To Go (2006)
88. Justice - D.A.N.C.E. (2007)
87. Juvenile (feat. Soulja Slim) - Slow Motion (2004)
86. Cam'ron (feat. Kanye West) - Down & Out (2004)
85. Cham - Ghetto Story (2005)
84. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps (2004)
83. Trick Daddy (feat. Cee-Lo & Big Boi) - In Da Wind (2002)
82. Tha Dream - Rockin' That Shit (2008)
81. Panjabi MC (feat. Jay-Z) - Beware of the Boys (2003)
80. Fabolous - Breathe (2004)
79. Buju Banton - Driver A (2006)
78. Rich Boy (feat. Polow Da Don) - Throw Some D's (2006)
77. Talib Kweli (feat. Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mos Def, Busta Rhymes) - Get By (Remix) (2003)
76. Hot Chip - Over and Over (2006)
75. Usher - U Don't Have To Call (2001)
74. Rick Ross - Hustlin (2006)
73. Scarface (feat. Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel - Guess Who's Back (2002)
72. The Mars Volta - The Widow (2005)
71. Ludacris - Southern Hospitality (2000)
70. Kanye West - Through the Wire (2003)
69. Fox (feat. Lil' Boosie & Webbie) - Wipe Me Down (Remix) (2007)
68. Lykke Li - Little Bit (2008)
67. Swizz Beatz (feat. Lil' Wayne & R Kelly) - It's Me Snitches (Remix) (2007)
66. Pharrell (feat. Jay-Z) - Frontin (2003)
65. Collie Buddz - Come Around (2005)
64. Drake - Best I Ever Had (2009)
63. Young Jeezy (feat. Kanye West) - Put On (2008)
62. At the Driver In - One Armed Scissor (2000)
61. R Kelly (feat. Jay-Z) - Fiesta (Remix) (2001)
60. T.I. - Rubberband Man (2003)
59. Nas - Made You Look (2002)
58. Soulja Boy Tell 'Em - Turn My Swag On (2007)
57. Justin Timberlake - Cry Me a River (2002)
56. Shyne (feat. Barrington Levy) - Bad Boyz (2000)
55. Young Jeezy (feat. Jay-Z) - Go Crazy (Remix) (2005)
54. The Racounteers - Steady, As She Goes (2006)
53. 50 Cent - I Get Money (2007)
52. Outkast - Ms. Jackson (2001)
51. Terror Squad - Lean Back (2004)
50. Jamie Foxx (feat. T-Pain) - Blame It (2009)
49. TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me (2006)
48. Missy Elliot - Get Ur Freak On (2001)
47. Young Bloodz (feat. Lil Jon) - Damn! (2002)
46. Eminem - Stan (2000)
45. DJ Khaled - We Takin' Over (2007)
44. The Diplomats - I Really Mean It (2003)
43. Aaliyah - Try Again (2000)
42. Lil Wayne (feat. Static Major) - Lollipop (2008)
41. Jadakiss (feat. Styles P) - We Gonna Make It (2001)
40. Outkast - Hey Ya! (2003)
39. Three 6 Mafia (feat. UGK) - Sippin' On Some Syrup (2000)
38. Jay-Z - Takeover (2000)
37. The Postal Service - Such Great Heights (2003)
36. Lil Wayne - Go DJ (2004)
35. Eminem - The Way I Am (2000)
34. Cam'ron (feat. Juelz Santana) - Oh Boy! (2002)
33. Jay-Z - 99 Problems (2004)
32. Kid Cudi - Day N Nite (2007)
31. Young Jeezy (feat. Akon) - Soul Survivor (2005)
30. Jim Jones - We Fly High (Ballin'!) (2006)
29. MGMT - Kids (2008)
28. T-Pain - Buy U A Drank (2007)
27. Mavado - Weh Dem A Do (2006)
26. Mystikal (feat. Pharrell) - Shake Ya Ass (2000)
25. Alicia Keys - You Don't Know My Name (2003)
24. Ghostface (feat. Jadakiss) - Run (2004)
23. Justin Timberlake (feat. T.I.) - My Love (2006)
22. Clipse - Grindin' (2002)
21. Amy Winehouse - Rehab (2006)
20. Jay-Z - Public Service Announcement (Interlude) (2003)
19. The Game (feat. 50 Cent) - Hate It or Love It (2005)
18. T.I. - What You Know (2005)
17. Prodigy - Keep It Thoro (2000)
16. Daft Punk (Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger) (2001)
15. Three 6 Mafia (feat. 8 Ball & MJD, Young Buck) - Stay Fly (2005)
14. The Strokes - Last Nite (2001)
13. M.O.P. - Ante Up (2000)
12. Mike Jones (feat. Slim Thug, Paul Wall) - Still Tippin' (2005)
11. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army (2003)
10. Lil Wayne - A Milli (2008)
9. Damien Marley - Welcome to Jamrock (2004)
8. 50 Cent - In Da Club (2002)
7. M.I.A. - Paper Planes (2007)
6. Snoop Dogg (feat. Pharrell) - Drop It LIke It's Hot (2004)
5. Kanye West - Can't Tell Me Nothing (2007)
4. Eminem - Lose Yourself (2002)
3. Outkast - B.O.B. (2000)
2. R Kelly - Ignition (Remix) (2003)
1. Jay-Z (feat. Pharrell) - I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) (2000)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Return of A.I.

What better way to break down his return than to read Bill Simmons take on his career. Taken from The Book of Basketball, Simmons ranked A.I. the 29th best player of all-time.

29. Allen Iverson

As the years and decades pass, both Iverson and no. 21 on the Pyramid will be picked apart by an army of statisticians looking for various ways to undermine their careers. And that's fine. Just know that Iverson passed the Season Ticket Test every year this decade (starting with his '01 MVP season): when season tickets arrive in the mail, the recipient invariably checks the schedule, marks the certain can't-miss games and writes those dates down on a calendar. The importance of those games is measured by rivalries, superstars, incoming rookies and the "I need to see that guy" factor. That's it. From 1997 to 2007, Iverson always made my list. Always. So I don't give a crap about Iverson's win shares, his ranking among top-fifty scorers with the lowest shooting percentage or whatever. Every post-Y2K ticket to an Iverson game guaranteed a professional, first-class performance (no different from reservations at a particularly good restaurant or hotel), and for whatever reason, he was always more breathtaking in perosn. He's listed at six feet but couldn't be taller than five-foot-ten, so every time he attacked the basket, it was like watching an undersized running back ram into the line of scrimmage for five yards a pop (think Emmitt Smith). He took implausible angles on his drives (angles that couldn't be seen as they unfolded, even if you'd been watching him for ten years) and drained an obscene number of layups and floaters in traffic. He had a knack for going 9-for-24 but somehow making the two biggest shots of the game. And he played with an eff-you intensity that only KG and Kobe matched (although MJ remains the king of this category). For years and years, the most intimidating player in the league wasn't taller than Rebecca Romijn. I always thought it was interesting that Iverson averaged 28 minutes of playing time in his eight All-Star Games and played crunch time in every close one; even his temporary coaches didn't want to risk pissing him off.

Iverson's career personifies how the media can negatively sway everyone's perception of a particular athlete. There was a generational twinge to the anti-Iverson sentiment, fueled by media folks in their forties, fifties and sixties who couldn't understand him and didn't seem interest in trying. Nearly all of them played up his infamous aversion to practice (overrated over the years) and atypical appearnace (the cornrows/tattoos combination) over describing the incredible thrill of watching him play in person. They weren't interested in figuring out how an alleged coach-killer who allegedly monopolized the ball, allegedly hated to practice and allegedly couldn't sublimate his game to make his teammates better doubled as one of the most revered players by his peers. (Right before Philly dealt Iverson to Denver in 2006, the ex-players on NBA Coast to Coast (Greg Anthony, Tim Legler and Jon Barry) traded Iverson war stories like they were talking about a Mayan warrior.) They glossed over the fact that he was saddled with an incompetent front office, a subpar supporting cast and a revolving door of coaches in Philly. (Iverson only played with two All-Stars in Philly: Theo Ratliff and a becoming-decrepit Dikembe Mutombo. His prime was saddled with overpaid role players (Eric Snow, Aaron McKie, Kyle Korver, Kenny Thomas, Marc Jackson, Brian Skinner, Greg Buckner, Tyrone Hill, George Lynch, Corliss Williamson), overpaid underachievers (Derrick Coleman, Keith Van Horn, Sam Dalembert, Joe Smith), overpaid and washed-up veterans (Todd MacCulloch, Toni Kukoc, Chris Webber, Glenn Robinson, Matt Geiger, Billy Owens) and underachieving lottery picks (Jerry Stackhouse, Tim Thomas, Larry Hughes.) They didn't care that he was one of the most influential African American athletes ever, a trendsetter who shoved the NBA into the hip-hop era and resonated with blacks in a way that even Jordan couldn't duplicate. They weren't so interested in one of the most fascinating, complex athletes of my lifetime: a legendary partier and devoted family man; a loyal teammate who shot too much; a featherweight who carried himself like a heavyweight; an intimidating competitor who was always the smallest guy on the court; an ex-con with a shady entourage who also ranked among the most intuitive, self-aware, articulate superstars in any sport. If I could pick any modern athlete to spend a week with in his prime for a magazine feature, I would pick Allen Iverson in a heartbeat.

And yeah, his field goal percentage wasn't that good and he took too many shots. Whatever. Fifty years from now, I hope people realize that Iverson had better balance than everyone else, that he was faster and more coordinated than everyone else, that he took a superhuman pounding and kept getting up, that he was one of the all-time athletic superfreaks. We already know that he was the best high school football player in Virginia history, but he also would have been a world-class soccer player, boxer or center fielder, someone who could have picked his sport in track and competed for an Olympic spot, and while we're here, I can't fathom how much ground he could have covered on a tennis court. (Tangent that's too important for a footnote: Every time the World Cup rolls around, I always find myself thinking about which NBA players could have excelled at soccer. Iverson would have been the best soccer player ever. I think this is indisputable, actually. Deron Williams would have been a great stopper. Josh Smith could have been a unstoppable soaring above the pack to head corner kicks. And can you imagine a better goalie than LeBron? It would be like having a six-foot-nine human octopus in the net. How could anyone score on him? Couldn't we teach Bron the rudimentary aspects of playing goal, the throw him in a couple of Cleveland's MLS games? LIke you would turn the channel if this happened?) Iverson wrecked his body on and off the court and somehow kept his fastball, which shouldn't be counted as an achievement but remains amazing nonetheless. (You could fill an entire chapter with secondhand Iverson stories of the "I heard he slept with ten women in one night" and "I heard he was out drinking all night, then played a day game in Boston and scored 49" variety. By all accounts, the guy doesn't sleep. He's a vampire. Might explain why his career came to a screeching halt in 2009.) And he deserves loads of credit for dragging a mediocre Sixers team to the '01 Finals when so many other scoring machines had failed before him. Unlike Gervin, McAdoo and Dominique, Iverson played with a swagger that pushed a decent team to a whole other level. He believed they could win, he killed himself to that end, and everyone else eventually followed. Watching Game 7 of the Bullets-Spurs series from '79 and Game 7 of the Bucks-Sixers from '01, the biggest difference between Gervin and Iverson - two spectacular offensive players - was the way they carried themselves. Gervin never gave the sense that the game was life or death to him, whereas Iverson went into foxhole mode, with his ferocity lifting his teammates and energizing the crowd.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

TMQ: Brett Favre & The Vikings

ESPN's Tuesday Morning Quaterback columnist Gregg Easterbrook's commentary on The Minnesota Vikings 10-1 start,

"Good golly, Miss Molly, the Vikings look good. With strong lines on both sides of the ball, Minnesota may have the best overall pair of lines in football, and the sport is, foremost, about line play. Brett Favre looks spectacular -- 24 touchdown passes versus three interceptions, a ratio that appears to be a misprint. Of course, all quarterbacks suddenly become more talented when the blocking is good: Against Chicago, Favre stood back and calmly surveyed the field; he was sacked just once and hit only one other time. Not getting hit, owing to great blocking, is a key to Favre's season. Perhaps he sensed the downhill course the Green Bay offensive line was on two years ago. This season, the Packers have allowed 44 sacks, worst in the league. If Favre had been sacked that many times, his season would be quite different. And great line play at Minnesota isn't just from brand-name athletes such as Kevin Williams and Steve Hutchinson. The undrafted Artis Hicks had a perfect pull block on Percy Harvin's 35-yard rush that set Minnesota's early tone against the Bears.

Last season, Favre's play declined as cold weather arrived in New Jersey. Brett knew what he was doing by signing with a dome team. The Vikings' remaining away games are at Arizona, Carolina and Chicago -- only one cold-weather date. Then Minnesota will have at least one indoor playoff date, perhaps two depending on its record or whether the Vikings travel to the dome in New Orleans. If Minnesota reaches the Super Bowl, that's in Florida. Favre may end up with just one bad-weather appearance all season. Maybe that's the reason for his rejuvenation. Or maybe back in a locked room at his place in Sumrall, Miss., there is a mysterious portrait of him that visibly ages each time he throws for a touchdown.

Still, TMQ is not sold on the Vikings owing to their cream-puff schedule. Minnesota has played Detroit twice, while also facing St. Louis and Cleveland. The Hyperboreans' opponents are a combined 36-63. The Vikings' only impressive victory is over Baltimore, and in that game, the Ravens missed a potential winning field goal on the final snap. Next up for Minnesota are two solid opponents, Arizona and Cincinnati. After those games, we'll know more."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Creative Genius: Tim Burton

Tim Burton, film director

Edward Scissorhands
Batman Returns
Mars Attacks!
Sleepy Hollow
Planet of the Apes
Big Fish
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Sweeney Todd